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In|discussion: The Construction of Madness | Knowledge public lecture series

Posted: 27 February, 2015

Prof. Brendan Kelly - 'He Lost Himself Completely': Shell Shock and its Treatment at the Grangegorman War Hospital, 1916-19. Thursday, 5 March 2015 from 6pm to 8pm RD005, Rathdown House, DIT Grangegorman


In the third public lecture of our series ‘The Construction of Madness,’ which began last Autumn, Prof. Brendan Kelly will present on his most recent study concerning the treatment of ‘shell shock’ in the Grangegorman War Hospital.

Professor Brendan Kelly is associate clinical professor of psychiatry at University College Dublin and consultant psychiatrist at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. He holds masters degrees in epidemiology (MSc), healthcare management (MA) and Buddhist studies (MA). In addition to his medical degree (MB BCh BAO), he holds doctorates in medicine (MD), history (PhD), governance (DGov) and law (PhD). He has authored and co-authored over 180 peer-reviewed papers and over 300 non-peer-reviewed papers, as well as various book chapters and books. He is editor-in-chief of the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine.

He is the author of no less than three recent publications in the last number of months. These are 'He Lost Himself Completely': Shell Shock and its Treatment at Dublin's Richmond War Hospital, 1916-19 (The Liffey Press, 2014), Ada English: Patriot and Psychiatrist (Dublin: The History Press Ireland, 2014) and Custody, Care and Criminality: Forensic Psychiatry and the Law in 19th-Century Ireland (Dublin: The History Press Ireland, 2014).

Book a place for this lecture here:

in|discussion The Construction of Madness | Knowledge

Series Context

The Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM), the School of Art, Design and Printing and the School of Languages, Law and Social Sciences, together recognize the importance of the history of the new site in Grangegorman and are organizing a series of public interventions to prompt reflection and discussion.

In recent times many public buildings have been re-purposed from the austere institutions they once were.  The new Art School in Limerick, for instance, was a Magdalene Laundry and the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology was once a Reform School. These public buildings reflect the disciplinary and carceral regimes of a near past that has been air-brushed by generations of reform.  The new Grangegorman Campus is one such venture that seeks to transform, repurpose and regenerate the local area.

So the Grangegorman site is more than a resolution to accommodation problems. We would like to take the opportunity to mark the move and transformations in a way that draws attention to the site itself: the setting, the history, the architecture, and the institution that continues to operate there. It offers a moment to reflect on the deeply embedded social and psychic meanings, memories and materialised practices much of which may have been obscured by the design and architectural interventions in the renovation conducted on the site.  As an educational institution, the developments seeks to turn an inward-looking enclosed site to face the city and the immediate community that will render its previous purpose to history: this history also needs to be opened out rather than shut in.  Further, the aim then is to frame and address it as a significant feature of our all too recent collective experience which continues to resonate in the everyday lives of the wider community.

The first of these interventions will hear from a number of invited scholars and public figures who can speak to the site, the institution, its practices, the architecture, its histories, its significance and meaning in the development of the State and the communities within and outside Grangegorman.  We are also conscious that this needs to be a public exchange and debate not least to inform but also to stimulate further discussion around institutions, policies and general mental health issues and wellbeing.